Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Is it okay to not like a book?

Review by Pat

I am a committed reader. If I start a book there is a 98% chance that I will see it through to the end. But what does this accomplish? If one reads for pleasure, should one not quit reading a particular book once the experience becomes bothersome? After all, there are thousands upon thousands of books to read. I debate my choice to continue a ‘bad’ book with my busiest reader friend who informs me that she will put down any book that becomes unenjoyable. She reads a lot…a whole lot. I read a good bit and admit that the bad books can really slow me down. I will pick the offender up, not being carried by the story, not wishing to turn each page just to see what happens next. I will put the book down to have internalized musings on why the characters are behaving inconsistently and on matters such as missed opportunities the author had to impart a sense of place. I can have some great internal discussions.

So there lies my answer. I do think it is okay to not like a book. I think it is okay to keep reading that book too. Reading broadens the mind, providing new perspectives no matter how well or poorly composed is the execution. If I love a book, I will know it from the beginning. I will keep turning those pages anxiously enjoying the journey or the minutiae. If I hate a book, I will keep reading, still firmly convinced that I am a better person for the experience. After that, I head online for the book reviews to see if other people felt the same way about the book that I did. Searching for that book review that confirms my opinion then becomes part of the experience for me…part of the fun.

So, here is my heresy…I will let you know the book that I just read that others have loved. I did not like State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. State of Wonder is about American medical researchers in the Amazon jungles and their quest to understand the native customs that may lead to the development of an astonishing new product for a United States pharmaceutical corporation. I found the plot too outlandish and the characters unbelievable. As another reviewer stated, “I was unable to suspend my disbelief.” But, that is okay. And guess what, I will probably go read another book by Ann Patchett just to see if this was an anomaly or if I just need to steer clear of her books. After all, there are plenty of books to read. Plenty.

If you like books that talk about medical science and its practice in faraway lands, consider reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. This is an epic tale of brotherhood, medical practice, loaded with cultural and interpersonal conflicts.

1 comment:

  1. Pat,
    Way to go. I have had those same feelings exactly. There are sometimes when I ask myself "Why am I still reading this?" It's not like I'm doing it for a grade. Still, most of the time,I keep reading.

    Thanks for giving your views on the book even if they were not in the best light and above that, thanks for giving another idea for a book you did enjoy on a similar story line. I can even say that I have recommended books I did not like, but based on the other reader's opinions I feel they will enjoy it. It's all a win win.